It hasn’t been a severely cold winter in the Southeast this year, but we did have to endure a couple of significant ice storms. Thankfully, the cooler air is starting to move out and the warmer air is moving in. And with the official start of spring on March 20, now’s the perfect time to assess the winter damage and make sure your home’s exterior is ready for the warmer months. This is the season where many folks get into “spring cleaning” mode when it comes to tidying up the inside of our homes, but don’t forget to show the outside of your home some love, too. A little focused preventative maintenance now can pay great dividends for you down the road!
While it may not have been the coldest of winters for our region, it’s still been plenty wet. We’re well above average for yearly rainfall to date, and there’s no reason to think this overall wetter pattern will change significantly anytime soon. With all the moisture we’ve been dealing with, now is the perfect time to inspect and assess the condition of your home’s external features. Here are a few things to include on your home exterior checklist:
A good plan of attack is to start at the top of your house, and then work your way down. So, grab a ladder, and go up and have a look around your roof. If you notice any missing shingles or roofing materials, then this is something that needs to be addressed promptly. Pay attention to the flashing and to the seals around roof features like chimneys and vents, too. Remove any limbs that may have fallen on your roof during those ice storms, and also take this opportunity to clear out any leaves or debris that may have accumulated in your gutters since the last time you checked them. And the next time it rains, you should also check to make sure your gutters and downspouts are flowing properly. In some cases, a downspout may need to be extended so that water will be more effectively directed away from your home’s foundation.
These are both essential components of your roof overhang, but they’re also elements that tend to get ignored. Soffit is the horizontal face you can see from underneath. It typically has some built in vents to aid with roof and attic ventilation. Fascia is the vertical board immediately below the roof which helps to provide support for your roof structure. This is also the surface upon which gutters are usually mounted. Because your fascia and soffit are really an extended part of your roof, both are prone to moisture exposure and weathering. Damage to your fascia and soffit will ultimately accelerate the degradation of your entire roof system.
The next level below your roof is the attic. Granted, that will require you to go back inside the house, but this is an important step you don’t want to miss. Doing a walkthrough (or crawlthrough) of your attic is a smart way to assess the condition your roof from underneath. Check the joists and insulation for any evidence of water damage. If you don’t see or feel anything, great! But if you notice some moldy smells, you should consider getting that checked by a professional; mold and spores can be a health hazard, and they also indicate the presence of lingering moisture somewhere.
Holes, cracks, or other damage to your siding won’t go away on their own, and they make your home much more vulnerable to infiltration by moisture and pests. And if your siding is showing any obvious warping, that’s usually a sign that you already have some negative moisture impacts going on underneath your siding. Issues like these will only get worse over time if they aren’t addressed. Shaded sides of your home – especially in the humid Southeast – are also prone to mildew growth on your siding. Spring is an ideal time to give your siding a spring cleaning to remove any built-up mildew and dirt. Pro tip: if you use a pressure washer, set it to the lowest speed. Water delivered at high pressure can easily penetrate your siding and end up doing damage to the underlying infrastructure.
Obviously, spring is a great time to give your exterior doors and windows a good cleaning, inside and out. But that’s more of a spring-cleaning task than a performance-maximizing task. Ready to save more on your energy bills? You should also take the time to inspect the weather-stripping and seals around your doors and windows. If you find any that are worn – or just plain missing – weather-stripping is fairly easy to replace, and caulk is simple to apply. Doing so can make your home more measurably energy-efficient.
Look for any freeze damage to your outdoor hose faucets. Here’s a simple way to assess their condition: turn on the spigot and place your thumb over the opening. If you’re able to stop the flow of water, then your pipes aren’t producing enough pressure; this can be a sign of internal plumbing damage. Check the condition of your hoses, too. If they were left outside over the winter, some residual water could have frozen, expanded, and caused damage to a hose. If you stored your hoses out of the weather, it’s still a good idea to check them for dry rot. Go ahead and check any installed sprinklers to make sure they’re working properly, too.
Now that you’ve reached the bottom of your house, you’ve still got one more level to check – underneath. If you have a basement, take a look at the interior walls and floors to check for any cracks or water infiltration. The winter freeze/thaw cycle can push your foundation around some, and the stress can produce cracks which allow water and/or pests to enter. If your home has a crawl space instead, time to get crawling and check for any cracks or leaks in your foundation.
Ok, you’re done with the house exterior! But don’t forget to consider any nearby vegetation which may impact your home exterior, too. Early spring is a perfect time for pruning plant life, especially before things start to green and bud. If any branches are actually touching your house, then you definitely need to cut them back. It’s also a good idea to trim back any branches which come close to your roof or gutters. At a minimum, it’s advisable to maintain at least two feet of clearance between your house and any trees or large shrubs in your yard.
In completing your spring thaw home exterior checklist, you may come across some items that need replacing, or you may get inspired to install some new features for home improvement. When it comes to the safety, beauty, and comfort of your home, it’s really best not to take chances. Entrust the job to the pros at Skywalker Windows & Siding! As our name implies, we provide the very best windows and siding installation services in NC & VA – but that’s not all we can do for you. We can also help you with everything from complete roof replacement, to gutter & gutter guard installation, to fascia & soffit services, to exterior door replacement, to deck & porch additions, to blown insulation services.
Ready to transform your home exterior for the better? Skywalker is proud to serve the NC Piedmont Triad, NC Piedmont Triangle, Lake Norman area, and greater Roanoke & southwestern VA region. Reach out to us today online or by calling (336) 265-9595, and experience the Skywalker difference for yourself!
Luke Wilson started working on roofs with his dad when he was a teenager, and eventually launched Skywalker Roofing in 2003. Skywalker operates in 5 locations across NC & VA, and now includes windows, siding, and other exterior services. Luke also hosts the popular Roofing Mythbusters series on YouTube.
301 South Elm Streen, Ste 523, Greensboro, NC 27401, USA Call us at +1 (336) 850-0027
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1518 Carlisle Ave SE, Roanoke, VA 24014, USA
Call us at +1 (540) 212-7255
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